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CIF-SS Small Enrollment Division Preview:
Valle Vista League 2001-02--(Dec. 1, 2001)

VALLE VISTA LEAGUE
Baldwin Park
Bonita
Covina
Ganesha
Northview
San Dimas
Sierra Vista
South Hills

We struggled a bit with where to put this league, either in the large enrollment or small enrollment school side of things, and since there are more Division III teams (using last year's configurations) than not, we opted for the small enrollment.  Nevertheless, there are several schools who fall within Division II, and even a Division I enrollment school.  The Valle Vista League, regardless of size, is one which is always competitive, and features some of the top teams in Division III, including San Dimas which is always strong and well-coached.

What follows is what we know about the teams thus far this season, which means we're looking either at media previews published in local papers, or we've incorporated materials sent to us by coaches or we're still looking at old rosters and guessing who will be returning and which younger players will be stepping up.  The schedules are accurate as far as we know.  We encourage coaches to send us their official rosters (via e-mail) and any other information about their teams so we can update these previews.

Update: 12/01/01: The San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (which share content on their "Prep Sports" websites) published a Valle Vista League Preview this week, written by Staff Writer Steve Ramirez. So now that we know a bit more than we did during the pre-season, we'll incorporate their stuff for future reference also. Here's what Ramirez had to say about the league in general:

It will be status quo in the Valle Vista League this boys basketball season.  San Dimas, which begins the season ranked No. 3 in the Valley and No. 10 in Division III by CalHi Sports, has ruled the league for the past 11 years, and that's not expected to change this winter.  The Saints, who advanced to the quarterfinals in both the CIF-Southern Section divisional playoffs and Southern California Regionals last season, look ready for a return trek. Valley Player of the Year Jason Greenlee is gone, but longtime coach Gary Prestesater, who has coached the Saints to four divisional finals and one championship, turns the reins over to senior Curtis Small.   Small, a second-team All-Valley guard last season, averaged almost 20 points per game last season and has the ability to carry a team both from the outside or with drives to the basket. The Saints, who return four of their top six players from last season, also have an inside presence with center Antouan Mesropian.  After San Dimas, the race is for second place and most agree it's a take-your-pick proposition. Bonita, 21-7 last season, is the early front-runner for second. The Bearcats are one of the deeper teams in league, but they also are without All-Valley forward Chris Dean, who has graduated.   Bonita will look to Mike Clark, Justin Miller and Nik Kannan. Covina, 13-14 last season, might be next in line. The Colts return just two starters from last season, but add one of the top players in the Valley in Jino LaBomme, a transfer from West Covina. LaBomme led the Valley in scoring last season and when you add that to returners Brett Pill (14 ppg) and Vernon Covington (12 ppg), you have quite a scoring machine. Northview, which returns its top seven players, also is expected to be much improved.  The Vikings' key players include seniors Martello Nelson, James Gavin and Darrell Marasigan. Ganesha also is expected to be improved. The Giants will be led by senior guard Chris Reaves. Baldwin Park, South Hills and Sierra Vista round out the league standings.   The Braves are guided by new coach Mark Hart and will be led by junior guard Kris Lewis. South Hills will feature a tandem of senior guard Jan Michael Fortich and junior forward Terrence Brooks. Sierra Vista is led by senior point guard Jesse Mejia.

Valle Vista League Rosters Valle Vista League Schedules
San Dimas--13-1, 23-3 (1st) "Saints"

We didn't have a complete roster for the Saints, so we're glad that the SGVN and Inland Valley DB have put out their previews.  The team made it to the quarterfinals of the Division III-AA playoffs last season, and graduated 7 seniors. The returning for this season will include:

Elijah Smalley 5'-10" Sr. G
Curtis Small 6'-4" Sr. F
Adriam Ferrera 6'-3" Sr. F
Antouan Mwesropian 6'-3" Sr. C

Update 12/01/01:  The San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (which share content on their "Prep Sports" websites) published a Valle Vista League Preview this past week, written by Staff Writer Steve Ramirez. Here's what he wrote about San Dimas:

San Dimas Saints
Head coach: Gary Prestesater
Tenure: 22nd year
Record at school: 425-130

Top returnees:
Curtis Small (Sr., 6-4, G)
Antouan Mesropian (Sr., 6-5, C)
Adrian Ferrera (Sr., 6-3, F)
Eli Smalley (Sr., 5-8, G)

Top newcomers:
Ryan Gunderson (Sr., 5-11, G)
Michael Flores (So., 6-0, F)

Strengths: Gary Prestesater's teams at San Dimas have always shown a knack for shooting the basketball and that won't change this season. Small can light it up from anywhere and Mesropian has demonstrated an ability to be a force inside.

Concerns: Prestesater's biggest worries are defense and rebounding. The team also must find a replacement for Valley Player of the Year Jason Greenlee, now at UC Davis.

Bottom line: The Saints are one of the Valley's two constants, the other being Glendora. And there's no reason this team can't match the school's past glory and make another run at a CIF-SS divisional title. Small, a second-team All-Valley guard last season, is one of the area's best shooters who, when hot, can carry the team on his shoulders. Mesropian also demonstrated a strong inside presence down the stretch last season. If he can continue that in 2002, expect another run at a CIF-SS title.

 

San Dimas
Coach: Gary Prestesater

D 4-7 San Dimas Tourn
10-15 @ Glendora Tourn
18 @ *Northview
21 *Bonita
26-29 @ Nogales Tourn
J 09 @ *Ganesha
11 *South Hills
14 @ *Baldwin Park
16 @ *Sierra Vista
18 *Covina
23 *Northview
25 @ *Bonita
30 *Ganesha
F 01 @ *South Hills
04 *Baldwin Park
06 *Sierra Vista
08 @ *Covina

Bonita--11-3, 20-0 (2nd)   "Bearcats"

Bonita should return the following players for 2001-02:

Korey Johnson  6'-0" Jr. G
Chad Latrouelle 6'-3" Jr. F/C
Chris Woods  6'-2" Jr. F
Michael Clark  5'-9" Sr. G
Nathaniel Smith 6'-3" Sr. F
Sean Macaulay  6'-2" Sr. F
Steven Hagman 6'-2" Sr. F
Mark Wyrick 56'-4" Sr. F/C
Justin Miller 6'-2" Sr. F
Nik Kannan 5'-11" Sr. G

The Bearcats had a very successful season until it was cut short in the second round of the Division II-A playoffs by semifinalist Ocean View. Given that the majority of the team is returning, with a year's more experience than last year, this team could again be a contender.

Update 12/01/01:  The San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (which share content on their "Prep Sports" websites) published a Valle Vista League Preview this past week, written by Staff Writer Steve Ramirez. Here's what he wrote about Bonita:

Bonita Bearcats
Head coach: Milun Mraz
Tenure: Second year
Record at school:  21-7

Top returnees:
Mike Clark (Sr., 5-10, PG)
Justin Miller (Sr., 6-2, F)
Nik Kannan (Sr., 5-11, G)
Sean MacAuley (Sr., 6-2, C)
Mark Wyrick (Sr., 6-3, C)
Steve Hagman (Sr., 6-2, F).

Top newcomers:
Chris Woods (Jr., 6-2, F)
Korey Johnson (Jr., 6-0, G).

Strengths: The Bearcats could be one of the better defensive teams in the Valley, and Mraz will have a deep bench to take advantage of that strength.

Concerns: The Bearcats will miss 2000-01 first team All-Valley forward Chris Dean and his nearly 20 points per game average. They must find a way to get more consistent offensively.

Bottom line: Bonita, which was the only team in the Valle Vista League to hand Valley stalwart San Dimas a league loss last season, will be hard-pressed to match last year's 21-7 record and trip to the second round of the CIF-SS playoffs. But Mraz does have some potential with Clark, Miller and Kannan. If newcomers Woods and Johnson mature quickly, this team is capable of another second-place finish and could find itself advancing a few rounds in the postseason.

 

Bonita
Coach: Milun Mraz

D 3-7 @ San Dimas Tourn
11-14 @ Azusa Tourn
18 *Baldwin Park
21 @ *San Dimas
26-29 @ Chino Tourn
J 09 *Covina
11 @ *Northview
14 *Sierra Vista
16 *Ganesha
18 @ *South Hills
23 @ *Baldwin Park
25 *San Dimas
30 @ *Covina
F 01 *Northview
04 @ *Sierra Vista
06 @ *Ganesha
08 *South Hills

Ganesha--9-5, 15-11 (3rd)

Unfortunately we couldn't find the playoff roster for Ganesha from the end of last season in time for this preview, so we were reduced to looking through the archives, and we've found the name of only one player that we know is returning, Michael Ebfeverha  6’5” Sr. G.  Of course, that doesn't mean that he's the only returning player, just the only one we could identify.  So, we really can't make any projections or predictions about how they'll do this year.  Hey, at least we have a schedule. Ganesha had a pretty successful season last year, making it to the Division III-AA playoffs where they had the misfortune of meeting up with quarterfinalist Chaminade, losing in the first round to the Eagles.  And oddly enough, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Valle Vista League preview posted on the papers' "Prep Sports" websites didn't have a word about Ganesha. 

Hopefully someone out there will send us an accurate roster.  Really, it's not that difficult. Just e-mail it in....

 

Ganesha
Coach: Joe Tremblay

N-28/D-1 @ Rosemead Tourn
10-15 @ Troy Tourn
18 *South Hills
21 @ *Baldwin Park
26-29 @ Brea Olinda Tourn
J 09 *San Dimas
11 @ *Covina
14 *Northview
16 @ *Bonita
18 *Sierra Vista
23 @ *South Hills
25 *Baldwin Park
30 @ *San Dimas
F 01 *Covina
04 @ *Northview
06 *Bonita
08 @ *Sierra Vista

Covina--7-7, 13-13 (4th) "Colts"

Despite a fairly successful season, Covina graduated 7 seniors from a 12 man roster.  The five returning players are expected to be:

Brandon Katagi 5'-8" Sr. G
Brett Pill 6'-3" Sr. F
Emmanuel Olayinka 6'-2" Sr. F
Vernon Covington 6'-3" Sr. F
Evan Myrick 6'-1" Sr. F

Covina made it to the first round of the Division III-AA playoffs, and lost to quarterfinalist La Canada.  This year, they will rebuild and have set their preseason schedule somewhat conservatively, playing in two other local tournaments, and hosting their own tournament over the Christmas holiday break.

Update 12/01/01:  The San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (which share content on their "Prep Sports" websites) published a Valle Vista League Preview this past week, written by Staff Writer Steve Ramirez. Here's what he wrote about Covina:

Covina Colts
Head coach: Dave Sanderson
Tenure: Second year
Record at school: 13-14

Top returnees:
Brett Pill (Sr., 6-3, F)
Vernon Covinington (Sr., 6-3, F).

Top newcomer:
Jino LaBomme (Sr., 5-11, G).

Strengths: The Colts return their two best players and add one of the Valley's best in LaBomme. This team will be very athletic and should rank among the Valley leaders in shooting the basketball.

Concerns: Covina lacks an inside presence and that could cause some problems as the season progresses.

Bottom line: There's a lot of enthusiasm in the Colts camp, and for good reason. Covina's big three of Pill, Covinington and LaBomme is one of the better trios in the Valley, topped in the Valle Vista League by only San Dimas. Pill, who has signed a Division I baseball scholarship to attend Cal State Fullerton, averaged 14.9 points last season and Covinington averaged another 12.3. Toss in LaBomme, who averaged more then 20 to lead the Valley, and this team has the ability to score at will. While first place in the VVL doesn't seem possible, the Colts should make another trip to the postseason.

 

Covina
Coach: Dave Sanderson

D 3-6 @ El Rancho Tourn
11-14 @ Azusa Tourn
18 @ *Sierra Vista
20 *Northview
26-29 @ Covina Tourn
J 09 @ *Bonita
11 *Ganesha
14 @ *South Hills
16 *Baldwin Park
18 @ *San Dimas
23 *Sierra Vista
25 @ *Northview
30 *Bonita
F 01 @ *Ganesha
04 *South Hills
06 @ *Baldwin Park
08 *San Dimas

Baldwin Park--6-8, 10-14 (5th tie) "Braves"

Baldwin Park's enrollment placed them in Division I-A last season, but unfortunately, a 5th place finish and only 10 wins didn't get them a wild-card or at-large entry into the playoffs.  The Braves will return the following players for 2001-02:

Buu Tran 5'-8" Jr. G
Eric Anaya 5'-11" Sr. G
Allan Banuclos 5'-5" Sr. G
Kris Lewis 5'-8" Jr. G
Geary Thompson 6'-3" Sr. F
Daniel Priester 5'-10" Jr. F
Francisco Espinoza 5'-9" Jr. F
Phillip Ortega 6'-1" Jr. G
Ramon Villanueva 6'-0" So. F

Update 12/03/01:  Someone sent us the "official" roster for the 2001-02 season:

Baldwin Park Roster
Coach: Marc Hart


# 10 Joe Brown 5'8 Guard So.
# 11 Gus Rochel 5'10 Guard Jr.
# 12 Eric Anaya 6'0 Guard Sr.
# 13 Roland Aidoo 6'0 Guard Sr.
# 15 Kris Lewis 5'9 Guard Jr.
# 21 Daniel Priester 6'0 Forward Jr.
# 22 J.R. Navarro 6'1 Forward So.
# 23 Geary Thompson 6'4 Forward Sr.
# 24 Allan Banuelos 5'7 Guard Sr.
# 25 Ramon Villanueva 6'1 Forward So.
# 31 Richard Armijo 6'1 Forward Sr.
# 32 Charlie Murrietta 6'2 Forward Sr.
# 34 Steve Carpenter 6'4 Center

 

Update 12/01/01:  The San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (which share content on their "Prep Sports" websites) published a Valle Vista League Preview this past week, written by Staff Writer Steve Ramirez. Here's what he wrote about

Baldwin Park Braves
Head coach: Mark Hart
Tenure: First year
Record at school: 0-0

Top returnees:
Kris Lewis (Jr., 5-8, G)
Geary Thompson (Sr., 6-3, F)
Eric Anaya (Sr., 5-11, G)

Top newcomers:
Steve Carpenter (Sr., 6-4, F)
Richard Armijo (Sr., 6-1, F)

Strengths: This is a very athletic unit that will attempt to play the up-tempo game.

Concerns: The good news is that the Braves return two starters from last season. The bad news is that they welcome back just three players overall from that group, so the first month of the season will be crucial in gaining that much-needed experience.

Bottom line: It's back to square one for Baldwin Park, which has a new coach in Hart. But former coach Gordon Hamlow, who had the program headed in a positive direction last season, didn't leave the cupboard entirely bare. Lewis and Thompson, who combined to average more then 20 points per game, are two of the league's better players and this year they get help from Anaya and Carpenter. Carpenter should provide some depth in the front court. If the team can adapt to Hart's new system quickly, the Braves are capable of finishing in the top half of the league and securing a CIF-SS playoff spot.

 

Baldwin Park
Coach: Mark Hart
N 27 @ Arroyo
D 5-8 @ Glendora Tourn
10 Azusa
18 @ *Bonita
21 *Ganesha
26-29 @ Nogales Tourn
J 09 *South Hills
11 @ *Sierra Vista
14 *San Dimas
16 @ *Covina
18 *Northview
23 *Bonita
25 @ *Ganesha
30 @ *South Hills
F 01 *Sierra Vista
04 @ *San Dimas
06 *Covina
08 @ *Northview
Northview--6-8, 10-14 (5th tie)

Northview didn't make the playoffs last season, and we'll be the first to admit, we don't have a clue who is returning and who is coming up to the varsity roster this season at Northview.  The schedule is accurate, from the CIF-SS office.

Update 12/01/01:  The San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (which share content on their "Prep Sports" websites) published a Valle Vista League Preview this past week, written by Staff Writer Steve Ramirez. Here's what he wrote about Northview

Northview Vikings
Head coach: Ron Rice
Tenure: 31
Record at school: 377-374

Top returnees:
Martello Nelson (Sr., 6-0, G/F)
James Gavin (Sr., 6-2, F)
Darrell Marasigan (Sr., 5-6, G)
Harold Frazier (Jr., 6-0, G).

Strengths: Experience will be a key for the Vikings. Northview returns its top seven players from last year and the group also should be very athletic. That includes Frazier, who was one of the leaders on Northview's football team that finished second in the Valle Vista League.

Concerns: While this is an experienced group with some athleticism, the Vikings aren't very big. Gavin, at 6-2, is the tallest player on the team, and that could pose some matchup problems inside. The Vikings hope to counter that disadvantage with their quickness and shooting ability.

Bottom line: The Vikings have the potential to do some damage in the Valle Vista League. Nelson, a returning all-league player, leads an experienced group that should play well together from the get-go. Rice, the dean of the Valley's coaches, will have one of his deeper rotations in recent memory and that should allow the Vikings to be competitive in league and battle for a playoff spot.

 

Northview
Coach: Ron Rice

D 4-7 @ San Dimas Tourn
10-15 @ Alhambra Tourn
18 *San DImas
20 @ *Covina
26-29 @ Covina Tourn
J 09 @ *Sierra Vista
11 *Bonita
14 @ *Ganesha
16 *South Hills
18 @ *Baldwin Park
23 @ *San Dimas
25 *Covina
30 *Sierra Vista
F 01 @ *Bonita
04 *Ganesha
06 @ *South Hills
08 *Baldwin Park

South Hills--4-10, 7-19 (7th)

South Hills finished next to last, and without a playoff roster, we didn't  know who was returning this season until we read the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (which share content on their "Prep Sports" websites) Valle Vista League Preview this past week, written by Staff Writer Steve Ramirez. Here's what he wrote about South Hills:

South Hills Huskies
Head coach: Paul Reed
Tenure: 10th year
Record at school: 94-124

Top returnees:
Terrence Brooks (Jr., 6-1, F)
Jan Michael Fortich (Sr., 5-4, G)

Top newcomers:
Andre Mieux (Sr., 6-2, F/C)
Steven Chon (Jr., 5-11, F).

Strengths: Work ethic. The Huskies may be young, but Reed likes the desire of this group. It's a trait that will be helpful once league play starts.

Concerns: Experience is the biggest worry for South Hills, which returns just three varsity players from last season. While both Mieux and Chon showed tremendous potential on the lower level, they have no varsity experience and that could cause some early-season growing pains. The Huskies lack some height inside and that could cause some problems in league play.

Bottom line: This will be a rebuilding year of sorts for Reed, who needs strong seasons from Brooks and Fortich. There is potential in newcomers Mieux and Chon, who averaged 17 and 10.7 points per game, respectively, at the lower levels. If Reed is able to get production from his top four, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

 

South Hills
Coach: Paul Reed

N 27 @ Charter Oak
30 @ Workman
D 04 @ South Pasadena
05 Gladstone
18 @ *Ganesha
20 *Sierra Vista
26-29 @ Covina Tourn
J 09 @ *Baldwin Park
11 @ *San Dimas
14 *Covina
16 @ *Northview
18 *Bonita
23 *Ganesha
25 @ *Sierra Vista
30 *Baldwin Park
F 01 *San Dimas
04 @ *Covina
06 *Northview
08 @ *Bonita

Sierra Vista--1-13, 3-19 (8th)

We will admit we had nothing on this team until seeing the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (which share content on their "Prep Sports" websites) Valle Vista League Preview this past week, written by Staff Writer Steve Ramirez. Here's what he wrote about Sierra Vista

Sierra Vista Dons
Head coach: Oscar Marquez
Tenure: Third
Record at school: 4-38

Top returnees:
Jesse Mejia (Sr., 6-0, PG)
Josh Gallegos (Jr., 6-5, C)
Jose Vazquez (Jr., 6-2, G)
Albert Villa Gomez (Sr., 5-11, G)

Top newcomers:
Gabriel Beltran (Sr., 6-0, F)
Anthony Avila (So., 6-5, C).

Strengths: The Dons will rely on experience and strong inside play to carry them. Marquez believes it could be his best unit and will look to seniors Mejia and Gomez to lead the way.

Concerns: While Sierra Vista appears to have strong numbers inside with newcomers Beltran and Avila, the Dons are a bit short of ballhandlers and consistent shooters. That could cause some problems in league play when they face some very athletic teams, such as pre-season league favorites Bonita and San Dimas.

Bottom line: The Dons' final year in the Valle Vista League could be one of their best. Marquez likes the experience and size of this club and he thinks there is a good chance for this team to be competitive in the Valle Vista League and battle for an elusive playoff spot. "The key will be how we take care of the ball,'' Marquez said.

Sierra Vista
Coach: Oscar Marquez

N 30 @ La Puente
D 3-7 @ El Rancho Tourn
11 @ Workman
14 @ Rio Hondo Prep
18 *Covina
20 @ *South Hills
J 04 Santa Fe
09 *Northview
11 *Baldwin Park
14 @ *Bonita
16 *San Dimas
18 @ *Ganesha
23 @ *Covina
25 *South Hills
30 @ *Northview
F 01 @ *Baldwin Park
04 *Bonita
06 @ *San Dimas
08 *Ganesha

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